The Truth about the Harry Quebec affair. Book Review.


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This really is a very odd book.

It is in part very good; certainly the plot is original and in parts unpredictable, and, at times, Joel Dicker writes with real style.

In other parts it’s like fourth form stream of consciousness.

But the overall premise is entirely original and it’s this that kept me going through its 600+ pages (200 of which were probably redundant because he goes over plot-ground way too often).

It’s sort of a police procedural but with the added input of a 34 year old, highly succesful writer struggling with his craft (how appropriate) as he retraces the steps of his mentor (a 34 year old highly succesful writer who was struggling with his craft when he fell in love with a 15 year old girl).

I hate pulp/trash novels and this is a pulp/trash novel.  But it somehow got itself out of the mire and held me to the end.

If you like original, crime driven pulp fiction and you have time on your hands, read this.

If not?  Read a real book.

1974 by David Peace


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The talent of David Peace is pretty well documented, but not in the mainstream. Which is a shame because in some ways he is a mainstream writer. Well, he writes crime novels and has written one about football. (Incidentally, the best sports book I have ever read as I documented here.)

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This is firmly in the crime camp. But it’s not Rebus.

David Peace is a unique writer. His style is more aggressive than Mike Tyson on the downturn.

Short.

Sharp.

One sentence para’s.

And grizzly, basic, twisted, evil, some might say sick, uncompromising but utteerly compelling situations.

A plot more convoluted than the current US Democratic Primaries.

1974 is the first in a quartet of books, now known as the Yorkshire series. It’s set in Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield and other cities in the grim north. It is not inconsistent with the grim north America of Silence of The Lambs.

Centring around the story of rookie crime reporter Edward Dunford and the murder of a child (part of a serial killer series we are led to believe) it soon escalates into a full-blown corruption case.

Dunford, the masogynistic beer, whisky fag and sex overindulger soon finds himself way out of his depth in a world of property developers, rugby league stars, mediums and worst of all bent cops.

Rather than painting Dunford as the hero Peace makes him a hateful scumbag, and yet still maintains his heroic stance throughout the book.

I cannot think of a central character, of late, that so deflects your sympathy, and yet in at least small amounts, garners it. I can think of few writers that are so visceral and don’t, frankly, give a fuck.

This is a great book. But if you are in any way sensitive…avoid.

But for me, the best thing is I still have three books to read in the quartet , and this is apparently the safe one.

It’s a thrilling prospect.